Why Do We Need Art?

By | September 30, 2022

[September 30, 2022]  I’m not Italian.  But my wife Nancy is Italian and also a fan of the Italian operatic pop group Il Volo (the Flight).  Last night we attended one of their concepts in Bethlehem, PA., as a sort of wedding anniversary present to ourselves.  Their performance was truly incredible and awe-inspiring.  Music is a form of art, and yes, we do need art.

Art comes in many forms: painting, sculpture, literature, architecture, cinema, theater, and music.  Why do we need art?  The answer is “yes,” and I don’t think anyone would object.  But why do we need art; now, that’s a difficult question to answer.  Why do we devote ourselves to art?  Why do we, and how can we put a monetary value on it (like the cost of a ticket to attend)?  What does art mean?

We don’t know the answer.  Art happens, and we want to be part of the art experience.  In some sense, art is a sacred object of sorts.  We are like ignorant children trying to understand as we gaze at art in amazement and wonder.  There is some unknown about life that shines through the art, and we unknowingly take it in.

And that is the role of art.  And too, that’s the role of artists.  The artists are contending with the unknown.  How much creativity manifests itself is impossible to describe.  Creative people must be creative; nothing is worse for them if they don’t.  Artists are cursed with the necessity of making sense of the unknown in our lives.

Being a creative person is very frustrating.  Their work has value.  Creative people are entrepreneurs, they revitalize cities, and they make things magnificent and beautiful (out of nothing).  Look at Europe over the past one thousand years and how creative people have made so many cities beautiful and majestic beyond our wildest imaginations.  It is jaw-droppingly brilliant.

The value of the greatest art is priceless.  And, such art does not get less valuable but more valuable over time.  The reason is that art is crucial to the intellectual and emotional development of humans, so much so that it yells out at us.

If you can, get your hands on a piece of art.  Buy a painting or a song or something that you and others appreciate.  Watch it, listen to it, and feel the art.  Do this because by buying a piece of art, you are inviting something good into your life.  Doing so opens your eyes to the transcendent.  We all know, deep down, that we need that transcendent.

I took in magnificent cathedrals, the world’s greatest paintings and statues, and the most beautiful music during my time in Europe.  I was awed and yet did not know why.  Others felt the same way.  The creativeness and vision to complete these works of art, many of which took more than a lifetime to build, is not something today’s modern person can comprehend.

The Il Volo trio was just another way for my wife, and I to gain some meaning in our lives.  Thanks to all those who helped make it possible.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Why Do We Need Art?

  1. Dog Man

    Gen. Satterfield has written a very perceptive article and one that is off his normal avenue. I find that his articles tend to be on personality lately and while this article doesn’t disappoint, it is about something that is undefinable. How do we define our “need” for art and how do we “appreicate” art? These are important questions. Thanks all for reading my comment. Oh, buy Gen. Satterfield’s book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq.”

  2. Yusaf from Texas

    Well written and thought provoking. Say guys, send a few dollars to Florida and the Carolinas to help those folks who lost everything. Americans are generous. Let’s prove it.

    1. Liz at Home

      Yes, please do so. Help our citizens. Don’t let the govt interfere.

      1. DocJeff

        I agree. I just sent $100. Not much but the Salvation Army knows how to make it go to the right place. I don’t trust the American Red Cross anymore.

  3. corralesdon

    Another well-written and thoughtful article from Gen. Satterfield. And, yes I did buy his book and gave it 5 stars. This is why I love the website. I just hope Gen. Satterfield keeps on posting his thinking.

    1. Eric Coda

      Yep, thought so too. Ever wonder why people like you and I keep coming back to this website and also make comments in the leader forums? I do. but if u look at who posts regularly, you will begin soon to note a pattern in their answers. That shows us who they are and why they write. Great job here on this blog.

  4. Army Captain

    Well written, Gen. Satterfield. Your next article should ask the question, “Why do we need war?” Just thinking.

    1. JT Patterson

      Good question. I will note that Gen. Satterfield has taken some time before to answer, at least in part, that question. His book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” also goes on to answer that question too. I don’t think you will find a dearth of info here. Just a little of my thoughts. We need art or we cannot be what we want to be. Be human.

    1. Frankie Boy

      A quote from the article, “In a nutshell, the purpose of art is to communicate our life experiences and we use the different genres of art as vehicles to communicate and share life experiences.” BS and I think Gen. Satterfield would call them on it.

      1. Doc Blackshear

        Yep, and well said. Gen. Satterfield hit a home run on this blog post. 👍

      2. Dennis Mathes

        Loving this leadership website by Gen. Doug Satterfield more and more each day as he tackles some of the most asked questions in human history.

  5. Max Foster

    Gen. Satterfield has done us a big favor today, so folks don’t overlook it. We humans have parts of us we do not understand and many in academia chose to ignore it because they are not smart enough or care enough to try to get to the root of why we need art. That might be a difficult challenge but at least talk about it as Gen. S. has done here … and a fine job too. Thanks.

  6. Frank Graham

    Why do we need art? Now that is a rather big piece of human existence to try to explain. So little space, so much to talk about. Thank you Gen. Satterfield for getting us started on explaining why we all love art.

    1. Emma Archambeau

      Right Frank. We have different tastes and proclivities but we all love art and can appreciate its beauty. ❤


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